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Holiday ideas with Children

Try a few of the following listed by province:

Aulla, Natural History Museum; important exhibition highlighting this unique area called the 'Lunigianese'. Includes 2000 examples of rare plants from the Apuane Alps famous for its marble. Also a botanical park for nature trails with export guides.

The Castles of Lunigiana; impressive network of defences still visible today gives an insight into Lunigiana's past as a border territory. Includes the famous Masalpina di Fosdinovo Castle being restored to its full glory.

Equi Terme, Fivizzano, Le Grotte Di Equi; 'La Buca di Equi' is an underground system which has yet to be completely explored created by the gushing waters which run off the Apuan Alps. Visitors can reach 4km into the system. At the entrance there is also a small museum to understand how prehistoric man developed during the bronze age.

Prato, Castello dell'Imperatore or the 'Emperor's Castle'; ancient (XIII century), imposing castle built for Frederick II of Svevia.

Pietrasanta, the holiday train or 'Trenino delle Vacanze'; a colourful train runs along the coast of Marina di Pietrasanta during the summer season until the town centre and offers a fantastic view of the beauty of the location. The route takes in Le Nocette, Motrone, Tonfano, Fiumetto, Pietrasanta and back again.

'Carnevale a Viareggio', February. Perhaps the most celebrated festival during Italy's carnival period.

Il Museo del Bosco, Museum of the Woods; A collection of materials and stories from the people who used to live in the nearby woodland 40 years ago. An ethnographic museum which includes walks and trails to discover more, as well as the animals and vegetation of the forest.

The virtual museum; two thousand pages and four thousand images distributed via internet and subdivided into sections related to art and tourism, all interlinked by different navigational routes: the tourist section is a journey in the company of six characters through the history of Pisa, from the 12th century to the present day.

Peccioli, Prehistoric Park; reconstruction in lifesize of the dinosaurs and their habitat. Includes Tyrannosaurus Rex, Mammoths, as well as a volcano, bears and cavemen.

'Carnevale dei ragazzi' at Calci in February for this children's carnival; Floats in procession and entertainment for children.

'Festa dei bimbi' at Casciana Terme, 25 August; fireworks and balloons carrying people for this children's festival

Collodi, Parco di Pinocchio; Al the classic characters from the story of Pinocchio by Carlo Lorenzini at the town of Collodi, which is also the pen name of the writer.

Abetone, The nature Trail; The forest botanical Garden is situated in the high valley of Sestaione at 4000 feet above sea level and covers 3.5 acres. This woodland hosts a wide variety of tree and plant species as well as a stream and all the species of flora present in the mountains of Pistoia.

Populonia, The Archaeological Park of Baratti and Populonia; this Park is the site of the some of the most important remains of the Etruscan civilisation, together with the nearby San Silvestro Archaeological and Mineral Park in Campiglia Marittima. Visitors follow a winding path through the landscape of coastal pine forests and Mediterranean scrub to discover the famous necropolis.

Cecina, Water Park; at the 'Acquapark' at Cecina Mare.

Marina di Castagneto - Donoratico, Cavallino Matto; funpark dedicated to the family and includes swimming pools, minigolf, miniature trains, water slides, aquarium etc

'Palio marinaro' at Livorno, between June and July.

'Sagra del pesce' at Caletta di Castiglionello, June, for this fish festival

Sorano, Parco Archeologico "La città del Tufo" ; The archaeological park "City of Tufa", la Città del Tufo, contains numerous remains from the bronze age and the Etruscan period. The park is located in a beautiful, natural landscape and was opened to the public in 1998. It covers three areas of great natural and scenic interest: Sovana, and its profusion of Etruscan necropolis, Vitozza with its 200 rocky caves shadowed by the ruins of the medieval castle above, and, finally, Sorano, site of the impregnable Orsini fortress which today hosts a medieval museum.

Saturnia, Cascate del Molino; The Romans were the first to build a thermal baths here making use of the natural hot springs. The swimming pool is naturally formed by the waterfall of Molino. The water arrives in a huge pool and the constant temperature of 37.5°C

Festa di San Lorenzo' at Grosseto, 9/10 August; religious procession in costume with local horseback riders.

Ponte a Poppi; Zoo Park of European Fauna, open all year.

'Giostra del Saracino' at Arezzo, June; Old Medieval Game played on horseback brought back in 1931 in order to revive the atmosphere of the 14th C. After some breathtaking flag waving the cavaliers gallop towards a puppet trying to give it a blow with a lance.

"Maggiolata" at Lucignano, May; procession of flower covered wagons with folk groups and musical bands.

Vinci, the city of Leonardo; Itineraries by foot or on mountain bike; Leonardo Museum, birthplace of Leonardo (at nearby Anchiano); Leonardo library.

'La Maggiolata', for the May Fiorentine Music festival or 'maggio musicale fiorentino', artistic event.